May saw little growth in Las Vegas visitor numbers

Las Vegas tourism is pretty much flat.

Through May, Las Vegas visitation is down year-over-year 0.2 percent, to 16.49 million people, from 16.53 million in 2012. May visitation rose 0.1 percent to 3.46 million visitors, compared to 3.45 million in May 2012, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority reported Thursday.

Scott Russell, senior manager of research for the travel board, said the authority sees modest growth in visitation this year, but he’s still optimistic Las Vegas will attract 40.1 million visitors by the end of 2012.

“With limited (hotel room) inventory growth, it’s hard to add more people,” Russell said.

But there’s still room a the inn. Citywide occupancy year-over-year ticked up 0.4 points, to 84.7 percent. Month-over-month, citywide occupancy is flat at 86.6 percent.

Hotel occupancy in May was 89.6 percent, down 0.4 points from May 2012’s 90 percent. May’s motel occupancy was 60.2 percent this year, compared with last year’s 57.1 percent.

Weekend occupancy was up to 93.6 percent compared with May 2012’s 93.4 percent, and weekday stays were down month-over-month, to 83.3 percent from last year’s 83.8 percent.

Positives for the destination include growth in average daily rates and convention attendance.

The average daily room rate in May was $117.96, up from May 2012’s $112.43. Year-to-date, the average daily room rate is $113.76, up from last year’s $110.10.

“We’re looking at the convention sector in assisting us in getting to our goals,” Russell said.

May’s convention attendance rose 8.2 percent, to 398,173 people, compared with May 2012’s attendance of 367,899. Year-over-year, convention attendance is up 4.5 percent, to 2.51 million people, from 2.41 million in the prior year.

The number of conventions held in May increased 10.9 percent, to 1,932 shows, from 1,742 shows in May, 2012. Year-to-date, the number of shows is up 8.3 percent, to 10,245 from 9,458 last year.

The travel board credited the return of the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association, with 35,000 attendees, for the increase in convention attendance.

The average daily number of vehicles coming into Las Vegas was up 3.8 percent in May, from 99,188 a year ago to 102,913 in 2013. The number coming from Southern California on Interstate 15 was up 4.1 percent, to 42,687 vehicles, from 40,995. Vehicle counts include visitor, resident and commercial traffic.

Elsewhere in Clark County, the number of Laughlin visitors was up 1.5 percent in May, while Mesquite visitation was down 8.1 percent in the month-over-month comparisons. Year-to-date, Laughlin’s visitor count was down 2.2 percent, to 874,985 from 2012’s 895,079 total. Mesquite’s was down 1.6 percent, to 455,487 from 462,757 in 2012.

Contact reporter Laura Carroll at lcarroll@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4588. Follow @lscvegas on Twitter.